The Austin Chronicle

The Hightower Report

Should big corporations have to pay the taxes they owe?

By Jim Hightower, February 26, 2016, News

I would trust a pack of coyotes to guard my herd of lambs before I'd trust a pack of corporate hucksters to "reform" America's tax code.

Yet, Carl Icahn, noted corporate predator, is fronting for CEOs of a small group of huge multinational conglomerates who are demanding that Congress drastically slash the taxes they owe on foreign sales of their products. This "reform" would let them escape paying most of the $600 billion in taxes that U.S. law assesses on some $2,600,000,000,000 in profits they've been hiding in foreign bank accounts. Three-fourths of these hidden profits belong to only 50 enormously profitable corporations.

Putting the $600 billion they owe into America's public treasury would fund a lot of education, infrastructure repair, green energy, social services, etc. that our people desperately need. But Icahn & Co. claim that forgiving this corporate tax debt "would allow companies to reinvest ... in the United States, creating thousands of jobs." Notice that verb, "allow." They could put this tax windfall into job-creating U.S. investments – but the Icahners do not want Congress to require any sort of patriotic use of the money.

Haven't we seen this movie before? Ah, yes – it was in the 2008 Wall Street bailout. They said that if Washington rescued them, they would then invest in Main Street and in middle-class jobs. We did, they didn't. Icahn even asserts that the corporate elites are "completely justified" in leaving America if they aren't given this tax boondoggle. After all, he says, CEOs "have a fiduciary duty to enhance value for their shareholders."

What a self-serving crock! Shareholders are not more important or more valuable than workers, consumers, and the common good. To help stop this giveaway to corporate elites, go to

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